SCHUMER URGES FEDS TO GREEN LIGHT AMTRAK TO BUY NEW, SAFER, MORE MODERN ACELA TRAINS, THAT COULD HELP COMPANIES ACROSS THE COUNTRY, INCLUDING ALSTOM IN HORNELL; NEW $3 BILLION TRAIN PROJECT COULD JUMP START LOCAL MANUFACTURING & CREATE HUNDREDS OF GOOD PAYING, MIDDLE-CLASS JOBS
Federal Approval for Amtrak to Buy New Trains Could be Major Lift to U.S. Train Manufacturing Companies and Their Suppliers & Create Hundreds of U.S. Jobs – Schumer Says NY Companies like Alstom, ATM, and Transit Air in Hornell as well as PWI in Wellsville and Vapor Stone Rail in Plattsburg Could Directly Benefit
Schumer Pushes USDOT to Greenlight Amtrak Train Procurement – Says New Trains Won’t Just Help Amtrak Riders, Could Also Be Major Lift for U.S. Manufacturing and Jobs, And Improve Rail Safety
Schumer: It’s Time to Get ‘All Aboard’ New, Modern, Safer Amtrak Trains – Could Be Ticket for Upstate Job Growth
Today, at Alstom Transport, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer visited the City of Hornell to urge the Department of Transportation (USDOT) to green light Amtrak's efforts to buy brand new Acela trains. Schumer said the roughly $3 billion train project could significantly improve rail safety and Amtrak service, as well as boost the local economy and create hundreds of good paying middle-class jobs in communities like Hornell. Schumer explained that Amtrak is currently seeking the necessary federal approvals to purchase new high-speed trains for the Acela service along the Northeast Corridor, which could mean great things for Upstate New York. Specifically, Schumer said that if Amtrak gained the federal approvals needed to move forward with buying the new trains it could help companies like Alstom, which has, for more than 150 years, manufactured and serviced trains in their Hornell manufacturing facility, as well as countless other companies throughout New York, creating good-paying, sustainable and high-skilled manufacturing jobs.
“Allowing Amtrak to purchase new Acela trains would be a huge step forward in improving rail safety and service in the northeast. This could have the potential to create good-paying, middle-class jobs for Upstate New Yorkers at companies like Alstom, Transit Air and Vapor Stone Rail,” said Schumer. “That’s why I’m calling on the U.S. Department of Transportation to give Amtrak the federal approvals needed to produce new, state-of-the-art trains from companies like these. This could be a win-win-win that would improve rail safety, bring jobs to Upstate New York, and improve the Amtrak experience for passengers along the entire Northeast Corridor.”
Schumer explained that, currently, Acela service is at a critical stage because the leases on its current trains, which were acquired in 1994, are set to expire in the next six to eight years – between 2021 and 2023 – depending on the train. As a result, Schumer said, Amtrak must now advance the production of its next generation of High-Speed Trainsets, which will not only replace the existing fleet but also greatly improve service, capacity, reliability, safety, and trip times. The USDOT, through both waivers and approved financing – through its Railroad Rehabilitation & Improvement Financing (RRIF) program – plays a critical role in allowing Amtrak to undertake this important effort. Through the RIFF program, the USDOT authorizes and provides direct loans and loan guarantees to finance the development of railroad infrastructure. In this case Amtrak is pursuing such a loan to help pay for the new Acela trains. Given the fact that federal funding from the RIFF program is needed to advance this project, Schumer is urging the USDOT to provide Amtrak with all of the necessary approvals so that it can obtain a RRIF loan as quickly as possible. These federal approvals and RRIF loan will not only help Amtrak, but will also be a huge opportunity for manufacturing companies like Alstom to bid for the contract to build these new trains.
Schumer said that with ridership and ticket revenue on the NEC increasing over the last decade, Amtrak should be able to purchase trains that meet the high demand. In addition, Schumer said the state-of-the-art trains would greatly improve rail safety and protect passengers in the event of a derailment or accident. Schumer said approving Amtrak’s request would be a huge win for American manufacturers and suppliers that could potentially provide their American-manufactured trains, including New York companies like Alstom, ATM and Transit Air in Hornell, as well as PWI in Wellsville and Vapor Stone Rail in Plattsburg. Schumer said the high number of trains needed to service the NEC would mean good-paying manufacturing jobs could be coming to New York if Amtrak gained the approvals needed to move forward and selected NYS based suppliers for the project.
Schumer explained that the Amtrak procurement process could also help create substantial opportunities for U.S. companies – like Alstom and those across Upstate New York – to create jobs and grow investments by securing major contracts to provide components to these new Acela trains. By allowing Amtrak to move forward with this important project, Schumer said companies Alstom, ATM and Transit Air in Hornell, as well as PWI in Wellsville and Vapor Stone Rail in Plattsburg could have new opportunities to play a role helping to design and construct the latest in high-speed rail technology. This project has the potential to provide a tremendous lift to high-tech American manufacturing companies.
Alstom in particular, Schumer said, has for more than 150 years manufactured and serviced trains across the U.S. creating good, sustainable jobs in the City of Hornell, the Southern Tier, and across America. Currently, Alstom employs over 1,000 people in Upstate NY and the number is growing. Over the years Alstom’s committed workforce has delivered steam, diesel-electric, electric, and high-speed rail technology, including more than 8,000 transit vehicles, to U.S. customers. Schumer said the company is widely recognized for its deep understanding of U.S. regulations and standards, delivering trains with the highest quality and reliability in the market. Finally, Alstom consistently exceeds domestic content requirements and often achieves up to 90% U.S. local content on both completed and current contracts.
U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer was joined by Jerome Wallut, President of Alstom Transport; Jamie Johnson, Executive Director Steuben County IDA; and Jim Griffin, Executive Director City of Hornell IDA.
“Alstom is extremely honored to have Senator Schumer visit our highly skilled workforce and some key suppliers at our rail manufacturing facility in Hornell,” said Alstom Transport President Jerome Wallut. “We applaud the Senator’s strong leadership and smart policy efforts in working to secure funding for a robust passenger rail network in the United States. A strong rail industry benefits Hornell and communities across New York and the United, providing high-quality, sustainable manufacturing jobs.”
Schumer said the need for better trains along the NEC is needed now more than ever. In FY 2014, the Acela service saw 28 days where daily trips exceeded 14,000 passengers, compared to just five such days in FY 2013. This comes as the NEC generated nearly $500 million in profits last year, the highest ever. As passenger ridership projected to continue increasing in the coming years and Amtrak offering affordable fares, there is a significant need to increase the capacity size for Amtrak trains as soon as possible. Procuring new trains made by American manufacturers and suppliers would prove to be a win-win, as it would meet Amtrak’s increased passenger load while providing jobs for American workers.